Published on / 13 Chapter(s) / 0 Review(s)
New danger is on the horizon for the shinobi world. Peace on the edge of collapse. Naruto, a celebrated war hero, finds himself, once again at the forefront of the fight, but which side is he on this time? Love. Tragedy. Happiness. Heartache. The growing pains of becoming a man, have molded, shaped and brought forth a new Naruto Uzumaki.
Chapter 1, One
To Find Love
April 15, 2007
The night sky was beautiful. Gleaming stars twinkling amid the endless void of darkness. Miles away from the brightly lit village, the shining balls of light were even more prominent. Small gusts of wind blew across the meadow, the soft calm disrupted by the sounds of chirping crickets and wild animals rustling through the surrounding brush. A scene that would otherwise calm ones soul was wasted on the grief stricken ninja.
He sat silently, knees drawn up, his lonely profile radiating agony.
The pain was unbearable.
Worse than any broken bone.
Worse than any kunai wound.
Worse than any physical pain he’d ever gone through.
His heart was in tatters, shredded and bleeding within his chest. It was hard to breathe, hard to think.
He didn’t know what he was supposed to do, where he was supposed to go, how he was supposed to handle this.
He clenched his teeth, struggling to hold back tears.
He didn’t want to cry. He had been crying for days.
Crying wouldn’t change anything.
Tears wouldn’t wash away the agonizing truth. His fingers dug into the cool grass beneath him, desperately trying to hang on to his wayward emotions. His body shook, tremors wracking his body. Angry, frustrated, heartsick beyond belief, he gripped his hair, on the verge of ripping the golden locks from his head.
That perverted grin floated before his minds eye, that obnoxious laugh rang in his ears. Even now he could feel the warmth of that strong hand ruffling his spiky hair.
No goodbye. No words of farewell.
No remains to bury.
Agony shot through his chest. He hunched over, his fingers tightening in his hair. Tears, unbidden, unwanted, dripped down his chin. His shoulders shook with the force of his sobs.
What had he gone through?
What kind of pain had he suffered?
What had his last few moments of life been like?
Had he died alone?
Had he been afraid?
The unanswered questions tore a whole in his gut.
Why had Ero-Sennin been taken away from him?
The closest thing he’d ever had to a grandfather. A man he’d loved as family. He’d never told the old hermit what he meant to him and now, he’d never get that chance. That was one of the hardest, harshest realities bearing down on him. That he’d never get to say all the things he hadn’t known he felt, to put into words the happiness and contentment he’d taken for granted while at Pervy Sage’s side.
There was no way to tell him how much something as small as sharing a Popsicle on a hot day meant to him. How much he’d loved training with the old man. How overwhelmed he’d been when Ero-Sennin had bought him the new clothes he wore today.
Wave after wave of pain crashed through him.
He couldn’t take it. Couldn’t bear another moment of this horrific torture.
His body jerked at the sound of the soft voice drifting over him. He didn’t have to look to know who it was. What she was doing way out here, he couldn’t fathom, but he could safely say, he wasn’t in the mood for company.
His teeth clenched.
He didn’t want to lash out at her and say something he’d regret later. His emotions were raw, his pain deep and fresh. As much as he craved the attention and regard of others, he repudiated it with as much contempt as he could muster at this moment.
He wasn’t sure he could control himself right now.
The rage he felt at the devastating news of Jiraiya’s murder was unchecked. He knew himself well enough to know he wasn’t coping very well. If he had to hear, “he’s in a better place now,” and “he wouldn’t want you to suffer because of him” one more time, he’d explode in an unrestrained tirade of ire and explain that he didn’t give a fuck about any of that.
He didn’t want to hear it.
Not right now.
All he wanted was to hurt and to grieve and to remember and regret and cry and process this horrible nightmare he was trapped in. He ground his teeth together, a dull ache radiating along his jaw.
Unwilling to unleash the ugliness he felt on a friend, he sat silently, hoping she’d take the hint and leave him to suffer alone.
He’d grown up alone.
He’d lived alone.
He’d struggled alone.
And he’d deal with this alone.
Her soft footsteps told him she hadn’t understood the significance of his silence. He bristled, anger bubbling to the surface as her scent, something gentle and floral, brushed his nose. Seconds later, he felt her take a seat next to him, the heat of her body close to his arm.
‘Leave,’ he thought silently at her, ‘I don’t want to hurt your feelings,’
Silence stretched. Seconds ticked by, and yet she remained quiet.
What the hell was she doing?
Why didn’t she say anything to him?
His patience was thin, his nerves frayed.
He wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed at the best of times, he could only focus on one thing at a time, and right now, he didn’t have the mental capacity to try and figure out why she was sitting quietly next to him.
He took a breath, prepared to tell her to leave, to risk hurting her feelings if it’d get him some much needed peace, when a soft hand touched him hesitantly. Gentle warmth smoothed over his back, rubbing in light circles.
Shock moved through him, turning his body to stone.
She didn’t speak, didn’t offer him pretty words of condolence or harsh rationale of life and death, merely offered comfort for him to take.
The silent strength, the quiet comfort of that caress ripped the anger from his mind, leaving sadness and a bottomless well of hurt.
He shuddered, a sobbing breath tore from his chest as he turned to her, crushing her to his shaking body. He held on for dear life, dimly aware that he was gripping her too tight, that he was probably hurting her, but unable to stop, unable to let go of the solace she presented, the single ray of light in his world of darkness. She didn’t pull away from his fierce embrace, didn’t utter a word of protest against the pressure of his hold.
He let go of everything.
The hurt, the loneliness, the shock, the grief, the rage, the anguish, all of it.
And she held him through it, that tender hand stroking his hair, conveying without words that she was here for him.
That it was okay to feel the way he felt.
That he didn’t have to be strong right now, that he could be broken inside.
He could be weak.
He could be angry.
He could be hurt beyond words.
He cried for what felt like hours, a tidal wave of tears the likes of which he’d never shed before, leaving him physically and psychologically drained. Held against her soft bosom, he lay trembling in the aftermath of the emotional storm. The low, steady beat of her heart fluttered against his cheek, the sound as soothing as her gentle caress, even now, flowing over his neck and back.
Exhaustion washed over him.
He turned his head slightly, tired and swollen eyes taking in the night sky, calmer and less hurt than when he’d initially come. The twinkling stars became blurred, their shining brightness fading as he drifted off.
The heat of the suns rays woke him from a dreamless slumber, chirping birds filling his ears. Slowly, he opened his swollen, achy eyes. Bright blue sky and lazily drifting clouds greeted him. For long moments, he didn’t know where he was, why he wasn’t in his bedroom, all he knew was that he felt comfortable, peaceful even.
The smooth skin of a small palm brushing back his bangs startled him.
He looked to the right.
Gentle, pale lavender eyes clashed with shocked blue.
It took him another few seconds to realize his head lay comfortably on her lap. Dull heat crept into his cheeks. He leapt up.
“Sorry!” he said, smiling awkwardly, rubbing the back of his head, “I don’t know why….”
The events of the night before unfolded in his memory.
His smile slowly vanished, his arm lowering to his side. He remembered the agony he’d been in last night and the relief she had offered with her soothing presence.
He looked over at her.
As was normal, at least around him, she was fidgeting, a bright blush staining her face, those pearl eyes trained on the ground, though stealing glances at him every once and a while. Her mannerism was just as weird as ever, in contrast with her behavior the night before. As weird as she was, she’d done more for him than any friend had last night, had been there for him when he needed someone the most. Even after he’d drifted to sleep, she’d stayed, hadn’t left him alone.
He didn’t know what to say.
“Thank you” seemed woefully inadequate for what she’d done for him. Hell, she’d pretty much held him together when he’d feared he would come apart.
What was the proper way to express gratitude for something as priceless as that?
He didn’t know.
“Last night….What you did for me….”
“I-I hope I didn’t bother you, Na-Naruto-kun,” she worried, her index fingers tapping against each other in that familiar, nervous way of hers, “I know you probably wanted to be alone, b-but I thought….being alone…wasn’t good…”
His lips curled slightly, eyes sad.
“You’re right, I did wanna to be alone, but…I’m glad I wasn’t,”
He moved forward and gripped one of her fidgeting hands, his grin brighter than the sun.
“Thank you, Hinata. I don’t know what I’d do without a friend like you, dattebayo,” he said, “Hey, I know! How about we go get some ramen, my treat!”
Seconds ticked by.
She seemed frozen, her face redder than a tomato. He leaned in, nearly nose to nose with her.
“Hinata, you okay? Your face is really red,”
He placed a hand on her forehead, worried she’d caught a cold from being out all night with him. Her forehead didn’t seem unusually warm or anything, but the bright red shade seemed to deepen.
“Ah! Hinata! Are you alright?!” he exclaimed as she keeled over.
Leaning forward, he wrapped his arms around her limp form.
He shook her gently.
She didn’t stir.
‘Weird girl,’ he thought.
He straightened a bit, holding her against his chest. She hadn’t fainted like that in a while, but for some reason it always seemed to happen when he was around. It was weird, just like her.
He couldn’t help the smile that made its way to his face.
‘Really weird girl,’
Sitting at his large, messy desk in the dimly lit room, Kohei contemplated the hurried writing on the scroll before him, dark brows creased in concern. The intelligence gathering was proving fruitful, though the content of the correspondence was more than alarming. Jiraiya, one of the Legendary Sannin of the Leaf, had been murdered by the Six Paths of Pain.
Nagato had become more powerful than ever before to have killed Jiraiya single handedly and more vicious and heartless to have killed the man that had once shown kindness to him and those he loved. If ever they were discovered by his old sensei, Kohei knew he wouldn’t be able to defend himself, let alone protect his village.
Light brown eyes narrowed.
There’d be no talking, no negotiations, no reasoning with Nagato, he was damn sure of that. He leaned forward, elbows on the desk, chin resting atop his folded hands.
The Akatsuki had changed since his departure.
The people that made up that small band of ninja had the strength of an army and the soullessness of a demon. He no longer recognized in that bunch, the principles and values the Akatsuki had been founded on.
He knew what Yahiko’s death had done to Nagato, Kohei himself knew first hand the madness that could nip at one’s mind with the loss of someone dear, but he couldn’t help but wonder if Konan had even attempted to steer Nagato back to sanity.
From the reports he’d received, she seemed to be on board with the insane plot Nagato had concocted.
Dread unfurled in the pit of his stomach.
There were too many enemies surrounding them, too many angles to watch. The Akatsuki, the Five Great Shinobi Countries, the detractors within his own village pushing for action when observation and careful planning were needed.
Pain crept into his temples, the signs of an impending headache.
Their continued survival was looking bleak, enemies aside. The environment its self was a constant battle. Producing enough food, trading for the essentials, keeping their location secure and secret was becoming more and more of a struggle each day. Their resources were spread thin, the bulk of which was being used to cloak themselves from Zetsu.
He looked down at the damning words on the scroll.
They had to do something.
HE needed to do something.
This was his village, his nation, his dream, he couldn’t allow himself to fail. There were too many people relying on him, depending on him, looking to him for safety and a better life.
Kohei looked up from the scroll, a frown coming to his lips at the sight of the man before him. Takahiro stood in the door way, his shoulder length, white hair pulled back into a low ponytail, his dark brown eyes shrewd and determined behind his circular spectacles.
The white coat he wore left no doubt that he’d come straight from the labs.
Kohei hadn’t even heard the door open.
He could guess why Takahiro was here, lobbying for more funding for his department no doubt. Why else would he enter his office without knocking and announcing his presence?
Kohei had been rebuffing the man for the past few weeks, hiding behind a closed door, unwilling to endure more of Takahiro’s attempts to sway him towards authorizing testing for their latest genetic project.
He didn’t want to be at odds with foster brother.
Didn’t want them to argue about the best way to protect the village but it looked like soon he wouldn’t have a choice. He knew Takahiro was loyal to him and the village, he didn’t question the man had their best interest at heart, but he’d become more insistent on taking risks and crossing lines Kohei wasn’t sure they could ever come back from.
Thanks to the latest news, Takahiro had plenty of fodder to bolster his argument for the use of genetic alteration of at least the shinobi that protected their village. Even Kohei couldn’t deny that their situation was beyond desperate.
He wasn’t certain he’d grant those funds even if the village had it to spare. Everything was moving fast, too fast in his opinion. He was no scientist and often differed to Takahiro in matters of a scientific nature, but in this, he wasn’t sure he could trust the lead scientist’s judgment.
Takahiro was growing impatient with their progress to establish themselves and stabilize the village. He worried about the moves the Akatsuki were making, the implications it would have for their village should the group’s ultimate goal come to fruition. It was a frightening possibility that kept Kohei up at night. He couldn’t say he didn’t understand the urgency driving Takahiro to take risks, but at what cost?
The lives of their people?
Their very humanity?
“I take it you’ve already read the message from the spy unit,” Kohei commented, closing the scroll.
Intelligence often times landed on Takahiro’s desk even before his. Kohei couldn’t be in his office twenty-four seven, there was too much to do, many tasks that forced him outside his office, so information of a more serious nature was delegated to Taka whenever Kohei couldn’t be reached in a timely fashion. It was a arrangement that had always worked for the good of the village, but now, was becoming a possible liability, considering Takahiro’s stance of late.
“We’re out of time, Kohei-sama,” Takahiro stated, shutting the door behind him.
Kohei sat back in chair, tension tightening the muscles around his neck and shoulders.
“Taka, I will not-”
“You no longer have a choice….sir,”
The tension in his neck and shoulders spread, encompassing his entire body. Light brown eyes turned sharp, cold even, as they regarded his adopted brother.
“No choice?” he repeated, the words clipped.
Takahiro hesitated. Foster brother or not, even he knew he treaded on dangerous ground.
“I take full responsibility for this…situation. A subordinate of mine and one of the testing volunteers have already began using the serum. We’ve only just realized what they’ve been doing,”
Ire darkened Kohei’s eyes, suffocating chakra filled the room.
Sweat beaded Takahiro’s upper lip and forehead.
Kohei didn’t believe that bullshit for a second.
Taka was beyond meticulous and exacting, not a damn thing slipped by his sharp eyes. He’d looked the other way on this, had forced Kohei’s hand. Not only that, he knew there were others that were involved in this. Others that were eager to push their agenda forward, no matter the cost.
They’d sent his brother to break the news and take the blame, knowing Kohei wouldn’t imprison or execute his brother for what could be viewed as treason.
“Kohei, we’re out of options,” Takahiro implored, taking a cautious step toward him, “If we don’t start testing now, all of this will be for naught. Everything we’ve done, everything we’ve trying to build, wasted. The Great Shinobi Nations and the Akatsuki are going to end up in a war, and we’re going to end up being collateral damage again. We have to make moves now,”
Kohei’s teeth clenched.
He knew what was coming. Had live through war times, could see the writing on the walls.
“How long?” Kohei demanded.
“.….Testing has been going on for at least a month now,” he admitted, “We need more people to be tested, more scientist to observe and analyze the results and form a more stable serum,”
Kohei was silent, the air in the room becoming heavier.
Takahiro felt drops of sweat slide down his spine.
He had seen Kohei get angry before, but had never been on the receiving end of this level of ire. It was the first time he feared his brother would actually do him harm. He’d stepped way out of bounds, he realized that, but whether Kohei knew it or not, Takahiro was attempting to spare his brother from having to soil his hands as much as possible.
Kohei agonized over the decision to either stain his hands with the blood of his people by authorizing wide scale testing or to sit back and do nothing and pray things worked out in their favor.
Either decision would lead to bloodstained hands.
‘Let me sully my hands,’ Taka thought, ‘Let me do what is necessary to realize our dream,’
Kohei stood and with great force swept his desk clean. Scrolls, ink wells, books, maps and other debris went flying, crashing to the floor and against the wall. Takahiro didn’t move, didn’t breathe. He stood watching, waiting as his brother collected himself with great effort.
Long moments passed.
Kohei moved, striding towards the door, nearly throwing it from its hinges as he stepped outside and made his way to the labs.
Taka released the breath trapped in his lungs, feeling dizzy.
Reaching up, he adjusted his glasses seated on the bridge of his nose, a nervous habit he’d thought himself rid of.
This was the right decision. He was sure of it.
It would work out, and when it did, they’d finally realize their dream. They were close, seated right on the cusp of success. All they had to do was reach out and grab it.
Composed, Taka turned and followed Kohei’s retreating form down the hall.
So this will be my first Naruto fanfiction. I finished the anime and was inspired to write this. For those that read my Inuyasha fanfictions, those are still in the works, so don’t worry but for now, I’ve gotta get this story off my brain.
Some information going forward; in my vision of Konoha, for shinobi, there are a lot of things you can do at age 17. My thinking is that if you can hold a blade as a kid, go on missions as a pre-teen and go to war as a teenager, you can damn sure have a drink and move out of your parents house sooner than age 18 and 21, I mean, come on, for real, lol.
A lot of the beginning is going to be centered around Naruto and Hinata growing closer, and its a lot of fluff because I fuckin love those two together, so I’ll give you fair warning now.
This fanfiction is really an experiment for me. I’ve never sat and planned out how a story is going to go before, normally I just take all the crap in my head and vomit it onto the computer so I’m interested in seeing how this turns out.
Please let me know what you think so far.
Thanks for reading.
Commenting is disabled for guests. Please login to post a comment.